Daily News 2000 - Vercingetorix, No Worries, Capetown Noir and Wylie Hall
(Image : Gold Circle)
“At this time of year, three-year-olds exhibit
differing rates of improvement.”
In our preview of the Daily News 2000 on Friday, we mentioned that at this time of year, three-year-olds exhibit differing rates of improvement. This couldn’t have been better illustrated than in Saturday’s South African-flavoured Group Ones, matched only by Claude Moshiywa’s stunning Comrades Marathon victory, the first “up-run” win by a local man in twenty-one years of the world’s most gruelling ultra-distance contest.
Let’s start with the oldest of the horse races. England’s Epsom Derby was being run for the 234th time, proudly carrying the label of South Africa’s Investec Bank. Rumoured unbeatable, the unbeaten Dawn Approach went out deep in the red, only to destroy his chances with a mulish display under Kevin Manning. Clearly accustomed to the speed of his earlier conquests at six to eight furlongs, he was unable to restrain himself without cover on the outside, and simply caved in as the field straightened from Tattenham Corner. The boys at Coolmore don’t need more than one invitation; within strides, a shoal of their five-horse entry swamped the lead. However, their back-marker in navy, Ruler Of The World, flashed up at the business end to run them all down from Libertarian, Galileo’s Rock and Battle Of Marengo, completing a whitewash of the world’s oldest classic by descendants of the remarkable Galileo, himself a Blue Riband hero of an earlier generation.
The unbeaten Ruler Of The World had given notice of his promise with a six length romp in Group company at Chester a month before, but needed Saturday’s victory to justify Susan Magnier’s choice of his extravagant appellation. As Coolmore boss, John Magnier quipped in the winner’s circle, “We allocate these lofty names on the basis of pedigree and what the youngsters are showing us at home; some we win and some we lose, and we’ve had a number of bad American presidents!” This one they got right. Those with an interest in breeding will be amused at the thin line between success and failure. Asked where the mare had gone in the past season, Magnier responded that she was on her way to Fastnet Rock, when he phoned trainer Aidan O’Brien to find out how the thre-year-old was doing. “He’s good”, was the response, and so his dam Love Me True, from the spectacular family of A.P. Indy, Duke Of Marmalade, Al Mufti and Lemon Drop Kid, is carrying a full sibling to the Derby winner. The rich just get richer!
Closer to home, the Woolavington Stakes (Gr.1) looked like a match in two between Bridget Oppenheimer’s Triple Tiara heroine, Cherry On The Top, and the Summerhill Sales graduate Blueridge Mountain. Recalling the vagaries of the game and the impossibility of knowing what’s going on inside a horse, the bridesmaid in all three legs of the Tiara, Michael De Broglio’sDo You Remember, trumped them all in the dying strides, just as Blueridge Mountain looked home-and-hosed halfway up the Greyville straight. To be fair, Cherry On The Top was over the top, while Blueridge Mountain’s 1200 metre prep was hardly the stuff of normality for a Group One at 2000m. But luck? Luck schmuck! “Breed the best to the best, and hope for the best”, they say. Do You Remember is a daughter of the white hot Silvano, from De Broglio’s Oaks-winning mare, Festive Occasion.
Vercingetorix’s unbeaten rally to the Vodacom Durban July remained on course when he scraped home by a nose in the Daily News 2000 (Gr.1), tossing the Breeder’s Championship up in the air, as the gap between ourselves and our nearest pursuers narrowed to nothing. The Klawervlei party however, was spoilt to a degree by No Worries’ killer burst in the closing moments of the race, where he raced from last at 75-1.
There was plenty of talk in the aftermath about Capetown Noir’s hard-knocking rattle for third, less than a head behind. If you were choosing between him and Vercingetorix on this evidence, with the extra furlong of the July, you’d have to be with Dean Kannemeyer’s horse, but all this ignores the fact that No Worries came from behind both of them, and another stride would’ve seen the wreath on his shoulders. If you subscribe to the notion that once they start to get good, there’s no knowing how good they’re going to get, “No Worries” could just live up to his name in the July.
Besides the fact that this result could be championship-threatening for Summerhill, our fellows were left lamenting our fourth bob-of-the-nose Group One second in recent times; Galant Gagnant went down by a head to Russian Sage in the same race; Smanjemanje failed by a nose to rein in Pomodoro in last year’s July, and Black Wing was “heads-up” on the Champions Cup (Gr.1) post when it should’ve been “heads-down”, in August.
As matters stand, No Worries holds no entry for the Vodacom Durban July, but “Buffalo Bill” Burnard tells us that’s what he’s in the game for. He may never get a chance like this again. If you fancy the chances of Vercingetorix and Capetown Noir, you’d have to fancy No Worries, as well. When the sticks came out, nobody dug deeper on Saturday. Every inch of the way. In the “big ones”, it’s those inches that make the difference. It’s what separates the living from the losers.
Editor’s Note: Together with the Guineas third, Corredor, No Worries is a graduate of the inaugural Emperors Palace Summer Ready To Run, staged in our School Of Excellence. His share of Saturday’s spoils puts “Buffalo” well ahead of the hefty R400,000 price tag.